Interview 2016
Mirvari Gahramanli: Oilmen Die Because of Impunity

Mirvari Gahramanli: Oilmen Die Because of Impunity

2016 December 16 ( Friday )  12:01:55

On 15 December, 5.00 in the Caspian Sea there was an emergency. A strong wind knocked down part of the overpass on the oil gathering station 3 of the Oil and Gas Extracting Department (OGED) named after Nariman Narimanov of the production association Azneft. SOCAR press office issued an official statement on the incident. It is reported that as a result of an accident a 150-meter section of the overpass dropped into the sea. The sea swept away the residential booth. There is no information about the dead or injured.

Consistent and frequent in recent years, accidents on offshore platforms in the oil and gas sector of Azerbaijan's economy actualizes and even makes fatal, in the true sense of the word, traditional security issues in this area and the problems of oilmen’s working conditions. The head of the Oil Workers’ Rights Protection Committee, human rights activist Mirvari Gahramanly expressed her opinion about the new tragedy in the interview with Radio Azadliq.

Question: Unfortunately, at the end of the year once again we saw a tragedy in the oil production sector. What is in your opinion the main cause of the incident: weather conditions, safety non-compliance, poor dilapidated infrastructure or notorious negligence of the staff?

Answer: Impunity. After all, despite the fact that the number of accidents at SOCAR's platform has increased significantly in the past few years, the public does not have sufficient information on the causes of the tragedies and on solving the urgent problems. For example, such a special state commission was created last year to identify the causes of the fire on platform 10 in the field Guneshli, Oil & Gas Extracting Department (OGED) named after 28 May of the Azneft Production Union. But the public still does not have an opportunity to familiarize with the decision of the commission. And no one has suffered due punishment. And the accident that occurred last night in the first OGED of the oilfield named after Nariman Narimanov, as a result of which 10 oilmen went missing, is a sad continuation of that experience. In three accidents in the same department in 2014, five people were killed, but no one was involved in the criminal liability. The overpass, which demolished today in the sea, was built in 1970. If you do not take into account minor "cosmetic" repairs, it was never thoroughly renovated. The construction was stated in the OGED balance sheet as an emergency one. Its destruction entailed the destruction of the adjoining portion of the site, where a residential booth with oilmen was located. Here among other things the question arises how the booth was built on an emergency overpass, directly endangering the people’s safety and what measures will be taken against those who took such a decision.

Question: Do you have any exclusive or breaking news on the status of "before and after" about what happened?

Answer: About the "before" I have already answered the first question. Regarding the "after," I know only that the search continues for the oilmen. But I am afraid the chances to save them are little.

Question: According to the monitoring you carried out, it was found that the obligations to the victims and their families after the tragedies in recent years were complied with in full?

Answer: The most important obligation to the victims and their families was to follow safety rules for working conditions of oilmen. This is reflected in the Labor Code. The SOCAR also violated the law.

Question: Have you presented or do you plan specific legislative initiatives about security in the oil sector?

Answer: Our Committee has performed several times with proposals directed to the Commission for Social Policy of the Milli Majlis of the innovations in the Labor Code of Azerbaijan. But it's been six months since then, and we have not received any reply Moreover there is the practice whereby non-governmental organizations are simply not invited to the discussion about the introduction of changes and amendments to the relevant legislation.

Hamid Khaliq



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